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Young at Heart July 2023

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Just Another Day at HICAP Over the past 6 months this Young at Heart article has covered Medicare Fraud, Medicare Enroll- ment Periods, Changes to Medicare due to the IRA and Benes Acts, and Medicare Preventive Services. Some may ask "how does HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) keep up with all the changes in Medicare"? All HICAP counsel- ors are California State registered and go through extensive training to learn about the details of Medicare. Counselors must complete continuing education requirements each year to keep their state registration status up to date. Every day at the HICAP offices we receive phone calls and emails from se- niors and/or their families with questions regarding their Medicare. Below is a short list of FAQs that you can share with family and friends. Caller: "I have a bill for $700 from a medical com- pany that does not appear on any of my Medicare Summary Notice's. This company I never heard of is charging me for services I received while I was in the hospital last year. When I call them, they are very demanding and say I must pay right away". HICAP: HICAP called the number on the bill. HICAP asked the compa- ny if they submitted a bill to Medicare. They said they had. HICAP called Medicare and Medicare denied receiving bill from company from over a year ago. HICAP called the company back and told them that Medicare had not received billing from services that were provided a year earlier. Caller:" I Received another bill from same company for $2000 for the same hospital stay"' HICAP: This sounds like Medicare fraud. HICAP called Medicare again, and Medicare still had not received any bills from this company for this patient. HICAP then called Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) to report this issue. SMP called HICAP back and in- formed HICAP to inform client not to pay the bill. The company is current- ly under investigation for Medicare fraud. The Cli- ent was relieved for not having to pay $2700 but also frustrated that they were almost a victim of Medicare fraud. Caller: "Medicare called me. They said Medicare is sending out new laminated Medicare cards. All I have to do is give them my Medicare number." HICAP: No, this is a fraudulent scam call. Neither Medicare nor Social Security will call you. They will always mail you a letter. This is an old scam that comes around every couple of years. Yours is the third call we have received in the last 2 weeks. Please, never give your Medi- care number to someone calling you on the phone. Caller: "I am turning 65 in three months, and I plan to keep working for a couple more years. I have employer group health in- surance through my work. My neighbor tells me I can be penalized if I do not sign up for Medicare when I turn 65". HICAP: You can register with the Social Security Administration 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday and three months after the month of your 65th birth- day. If you plan to keep working and you have employer group health in- surance with an employer of more than 100 employ- ees, you can delay signing up for Medicare without penalty. When you do re- tire you will get a special enrollment period to enroll in Medicare. Let's sched- ule an appointment for you with one of HICAP's volunteer counselors. Caller: "I joined a Medi- care Advantage Plan in November during the An- nual Enrollment Period. I tried calling to get an ap- pointment with a medical provider and have been told by the Advantage Plan that my new medical provider is located in San Jose. How can I get out of this plan?" HICAP: Between January 1 and March 31, 2024, if you are not satisfied with your Medicare Advantage Plan you can switch to an- other Advantage Plan here in Santa Cruz County, or switch back to Original Medicare and then enroll into a new Part D pre- scription drug plan for 2024. Enrolling in a new Advantage Plan or Part D Plan will automatically disenroll you from your current plan. Let's sched- ule an appointment for you with one of HICAP's volunteer counselors. Caller: "I have Medicare and MediCal. I have received a letter from MediCal requesting I up- date my income and assets with them. Is this legit? I haven't received this letter before". HICAP: Yes, this is a renewal form from Med- iCal. They have not sent out renewals during the Covid public health emer- gency for the last 3 years, but now that the public health emergency is over, they need to continue doing annual renewals. If MediCal does not receive the renewal form, they will disenroll you from MediCal. Please fill out MediCal renewal forms and mail back to MediCal to avoid disruption to your medical services. Caller: "I signed up for Medicare this month, and I take no prescription drugs. My sister tells me I have to sign up for a Medicare Part D plan. Is this true?" HICAP: Yes, your sister is correct. When someone signs up for Medicare, they are also obliged to sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan to avoid lifetime penal- ties. There are a couple exceptions, one being if someone was a veteran and has earned VA ben- efits. But most Medicare beneficiaries should sign up for Part D plan regard- less of whether they take prescription drugs or not. HICAP is hosting "Medi- care Plan-finder How To" presentations between July and October to show folks how to use the Medicare.gov website to find least expensive Part D plan for their prescrip- tion drugs. Check out the Senior Network Services website at https://senior- networkservices.org/ for upcoming presentations. Caller: "My spouse and I both turn 65 in the next couple months and neither of us are working. I have a COBRA plan from my previous job and my spouse is on Covered California. Do we need to sign up for Medicare?" HICAP: Yes. When someone has Covered California and is turning 65, they need to register for Medicare during their 7-month enrollment peri- od. They should contact Covered California at least the month before they turn 65 to cancel the plan. There should be no overlap. There are tax penalties involved if someone has Covered California insurance and is eligible for Medicare. Also, COBRA does not work well with Medi- care. Let's schedule an appointment for you with one of HICAP's volun- teer counselors. Call HICAP at 831-462- 5510 for appointments with our friendly and knowledgeable Medicare counselors. Check out the Senior Network Ser- vices website at https:// seniornetworkservices. org/ or our Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/seniornetwork- services for upcoming community Medicare education events. By Bill Proulx Senior Network Services per set with 45-day trial period Stream to Your Smartphone Virtually Invisible Santa Cruz Location 550 Water St., Suite A Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Watsonville Location 243 Green Valley Rd., Suite C Freedom, CA 95019 $999. $1,299. 99 99 Virtuall www.scentmd.com Call TODAY at (831) 531-4231 to order! Now Carrying Sony OTC Devices with prices between Adobe Stock photo

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